Delsym (Dextromethorphan Polistirex)


Delsym is a cough suppressant that is used to treat cough caused by the common cold or flu. It has an advanced time-release formula. The medicine was invented in 1980s and was the first cough syrup brand to deliver 12 full hours of cough relief.

Action And Clinical Pharmacology

Dextromethorphan is a centrally acting antitussive which is comparable to codeine on a mg basis for cough suppression but lacking analgesic or addictive properties.

Antitussive efficacy in adults is seen after 10 to 20 mg doses every 4 hours or 30 mg every 6 to 8 hours. With the usual therapeutic dosage, no effect has been noted on respiratory, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal function. Respiratory depression has been noted following ingestion of very large doses.

Dextromethorphan polistirex is a sustained-release preparation. Clinical bioavailability studies have shown that a single 60 mg dose provides plasma concentrations of dextromethorphan similar to those obtained with two 30 mg doses of dextromethorphan HBr given at 6 hour intervals. After repeated doses at steady state, equivalent plasma concentrations are maintained when Delsym is taken every 12 hours as compared to dextromethorphan HBr every 6 hours.


For the temporary relief of cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation as may occur with the common cold, colds, bronchitis (acute and chronic), tracheitis, laryngitis, or with inhaled irritants.

IMPORTANT: dextromethorphan should be taken only for dry cough; in case of sputum separation, it is necessary to change the medicine.

Manufacturers’ Warnings In Clinical States

Dextromethorphan should not be taken for persistent or chronic cough such as occurs with smoking, asthma or emphysema, or where cough is accompanied by excessive secretions, except under the advice and supervision of a physician.

Do not give this product to children under 2 years of age except under the advice and supervision of a physician.

Drug Interactions

MAO inhibitors (including furazolidone, procarbazine, selegiline), when used simultaneously, can cause adrenergic crisis, collapse, coma, dizziness, agitation, increased blood pressure, hyperpyrexia, intracranial bleeding, lethargy, nausea, spasms, tremors. Amiodarone, fluoxetine, quinidine can increase the concentration of the drug in the blood. Tobacco smoke can lead to increased secretion of the glands while inhibiting the cough reflex.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Do not administer to women who are pregnant or nursing unless, in the opinion of a physician, the potential benefits of the drug outweigh the possible risks.


A persistent cough may be a sign of a serious condition. The patient should be advised to consult a physician if cough persists for more than 1 week or if cough tends to recur or is accompanied by high fever, rash or persistent headache.

Dependence Liability: Substitution studies in morphine addicts indicate that dextromethorphan is devoid of dependence liability. Intoxication and bizarre behavior have occurred after ingestion of 300 to 1 500 mg several times daily.

Before using this medicine, you must consult with your doctor – there are contraindications for use.

The medicine is used with caution in patients with liver diseases.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages when taking Delsym  – they can depress the central nervous system.

Adverse Reactions

Rarely, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting may occur with normal doses.

As a rule, the above-described side effects disappear after 2-3 days of regular use of dextromethorphan. If any of these side effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor right away.

Many patients using this drug do not have serious side effects. In very rare cases, the medicine can cause a serious allergic reaction. Its symptoms include trouble breathing, rash, itching and swelling (especially of the face, tongue and throat), severe dizziness.  If you notice these effects, call 911 or contact your doctor or pharmacist right away.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Overdose

Taking very large doses can cause fast heartbeat, vomiting, sweating, nervousness, feeling high (euphoria), hallucinations, problems walking, agitation, severe drowsiness, ataxia, hyperactivity, passing out, or trouble breathing, If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms, call 911 or a poison control center (1-800-222-1222 for US residents) immediately.

Dosage And Administration

Shake well before use.

  • Adults: 10 mL every 12 hours; do not exceed 20 mL in 24 hours;
  • Children: 6 to 12 years old: 5 mL every 12 hours; do not exceed 10 mL in 24 hours. 2 to 5 years old: 2.5 mL every 12 hours; do not exceed 5 mL in 24 hours. Under 2 years old: Use only under the advice of a physician.


The main contraindication for Delsym is hypersensitivity or individual intolerance to the active ingredient – dextromethorphan. If the medicine is taken for the first time, then it is necessary to carefully monitor the reaction of the body.

The medicine cannot be used to treat bronchial asthma.

What if I Missed a Dose?

If you are using this medicine on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take it as soon as you realize your mistake. If it is almost the time to take the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at your usual time. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.


Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep away from children and pets. Properly discard this medicine when it is expired or no longer needed.


IMPORTANT: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this medicine. This information does not assure that this medicine is safe or appropriate for you. This information cannot be used as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your health care provider if you have any health condition. Always ask your health care provider for complete information about this medicine and your individual health needs.

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